The Happening Reviews

  • The movie demonstrates a smart movie geek's obsession with the rhythms and gory details of horror storytelling, undermined by a pompous insistence on spiritual lessons of the tritest kind.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum — Entertainment Weekly

  • The Happening is a divertingly goofy thriller with an animistic bent, moments of shivery and twitchy suspense and a solid lead performance from Mark Wahlberg.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

  • Shyamalan tries to give the events a scientific underpinning. But his logic is spotty, so what are meant to be eerie moments are not convincing.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • The Happening stutter-steps its way in this direction and that to a disappointing ending.

    Stephen Hunter — Washington Post

  • You feel like you're not watching the end of the world but the end of a career.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • Effective nonsense, chilling nonsense, occasionally wrenching nonsense.

    Robert Wilonsky — Village Voice

  • The final explanation, which comes as no surprise, is more preposterous than profound. If you want to see a scary movie about humans wreaking havoc on their planet, watch An Inconvenient Truth instead.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • Woeful clunker of a paranoid thriller.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • Mr. Shyamalan is plagued by a bad case of Robin Williams Syndrome, characterized by a desire to inspire and change the world through mediocre entertainment a" in this case, accompanied by ample and frequently creative bloodshed.

    Chris Vognar — Dallas Morning News

  • All that's missing is the head alien of Plan 9 From Outer Space dropping by to lecture the populace for disrespecting nature: 'Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!'

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • The Happening is an awful letdown, yet it leaves you with something new, as a gently waving tree -- that classical image of pastoral tranquillity -- mutates into a harbinger of doom.

    Anthony Lane — New Yorker

  • Shyamalan's approach is more effective than smash-and-grab plot-mongering. His use of the landscape is disturbingly effective. The performances by Wahlberg and Deschanel bring a quiet dignity to their characters.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • After the insufferably dense mermaid mythology of Lady in the Water, Shyamalan clearly wanted to keep things simple. He whizzed straight past simple to simplistic.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • Wahlberg turns in one of his worst performances ever, but then he's saddled with preposterous scenes (like one where he tries to placate a ficus) and such lame lines as "Could this really be happening?" Funny, I was wondering the same thing myself.

    Andrea Gronvall — Chicago Reader

  • As for The Happening, his throwback horror flick that plays like The Birds meets The Blob, it's beyond good and evil. It's dumbfounding.

    Carrie Rickey — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • The attention paid to [Wahlberg and Deschanel's] piddling relationship woes vs. the entire fate of humanity is absurd. We never feel persuaded that they have a bond, much less invested in seeing them patch it up.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • It's downright stupid.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • Instead of shocks, we get moments of tension, suspense and violence between stretches of running scared. Nothing wrong with that, except that the stretches are awfully long in places. And in the end, it all comes to not much.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • For a movie with the potential for so much global-warming electricity, it's disappointingly low on voltage.

    Rex Reed — New York Observer

  • A patchy, uninspired eco-thriller whose R rating (a first for Shyamalan) looks more like a B.O. hindrance than an artistic boon.

    Justin Chang — Variety

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